Living and working abroad can present all kinds of new and exciting challenges, opportunities to meet new and interesting people, and a range of experiences that you’ll remember forever. Having said that, there are also various challenges which can take the fun and beauty out of some truly idyllic countries. If you’re toying with the idea of living abroad, here are some of the biggest challenges you’ll face, and some tips on how to overcome them.
Depending on the kind of personality you have, the isolation of living in a new country may or may not be an issue. If you’re not the kind to strike up a conversation with strangers every time you leave the house, then you may find yourself more affected by it than you expected. Of course, you can stay in touch with your friends and family back home through social media and Skype, but eventually, you’ll need to come out of your shell wherever you are. Go out of your way to develop your communication and networking skills. Look for conversation starters in any situation, and throw yourself into the social side of your work. It can also help to look for opportunities for more social interaction. Join a book group, a sports club, or some other society in your local area.
One of the more practical challenges of moving to another country is… well, moving! Getting through the logistics of moving from one side of town to the other can be stressful and complex enough, let alone taking everything across the world! Start off by browsing removal companies and getting rough quotes as soon as possible. The same goes for any specialist services you may need, for example if you want to ship a car, or bring a pet with you. The sooner you do your research and start budgeting, the easier the whole process will be. It’s also important to have a big purge of all your stuff long before moving day. You’ll obviously want to hold onto a few keepsakes from your current country, but try to avoid packing so much that you make the whole move a long and complicated stress-fest! Go through the whole house, and sell, donate, or throw away anything you can bear to part with.
You may have read all the tourist guides on the country you can get your hands on, but it’s often the little differences that will surprise you the most. Getting over the culture shock of a new country can be tough, especially if you haven’t had much experience of travelling before. Don’t feel too bad if you can’t drop your established social customs, and hold onto the behaviours that are important to you. In some countries, for example, littering is much more socially accepted, and you may even be scolded by the locals for carrying around rubbish in a public place. Just pay attention to people around you, and you’ll adjust in due time.